See More on Facebook

Diplomacy, Opinion

Reimpose sanctions against Myanmar

Bangladeshi senior adviser Gowher Rizvi is calling for the reimposition of sanctions against Myanmar for its role in the Rohingya crisis.


Written by

Updated: April 4, 2018

Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi has called for re-imposition of sanctions against Myanmar as a way to put pressure on the Southeast Asian country accused of genocide.

“We have to re-impose the sanction because the sanction was removed as a goodwill and a gesture of good behaviour to come from Myanmar,” he said.

He said the sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime were withdrawn following the emergence of democracy in the country.

Eventually, it resulted in the end of Myanmar’s isolation from the rest of the world. Foreign investment was also made in the country.

Rizvi said he wondered why mass killings, genocide and ethnic cleansing took place at a time when the world was supporting Myanmar.

“So there is no longer time to debate if sanctions work or not,” he said at the conclusion of a two-day international conference yesterday.

BRAC University, Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University and ActionAid Bangladesh, an NGO, jointly organised the conference on “Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions” at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Hall of Dhaka University.

The conference adopted a 16-point Dhaka Declaration, calling upon the international community to ensure a voluntary, dignified and safe return of the Rohingyas, who fled atrocities, including killings, rapes and burning of houses, in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Rizvi said EU’s travel ban on Myanmar’s military leaders had been a useful start and now it was the need of the day to revisit the question of market access and investment in Myanmar.

“Without pressure, nothing will happen. Myanmar won’t be secure for the Rohingyas. If Myanmar is not secure, Rohingyas will not go back,” Rizvi said.

Repatriation of the Rohingyas seems uncertain though Myanmar signed a deal with Bangladesh in this regard in November last year.

Bangladesh sent a list of over 8,000 Rohingyas, but Myanmar provided one with some 600 verified names only.

The international community has been critical of the security situation in Rakhine where Rohingya houses were burnt and the vegetation cleared.  Security installations were also being built. There are reports of ethnic Rakhines being rehabilitated in lands once owned by the Rohingyas.

Myanmar said it has built temporary camps for the returnee Rohingyas before they are rehabilitated to their own homes.

The minority community though has demanded citizenship, recognition as an ethnic Rohingya community and a UN-controlled safe zone in Rakhine.

He said the current Rohingya crisis is not a result of attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and subsequent violence only, but it is a well-planned strategy devised by Myanmar.

Rohingyas were listed as citizens in Myanmar’s 1948 constitution but their citizenship was invalidated in the 1982 citizenship law, which led to several waves of violence and exodus.

Bangladesh had no alternative to accepting the Rohingyas under such a humanitarian crisis. Then, in good faith, they went ahead bilaterally with Myanmar for a solution, but Myanmar hardly made any concessions, he said.

“We didn’t create the problem, but Myanmar [did]. So the solution lies with Myanmar,” Rizvi told the international audience, adding that every Rohingya wants to go back to Myanmar but only if their citizenship and legitimate rights are guaranteed.

“If Myanmar can get away, there will be no security of minorities anywhere in the world. So, we really need to wake up,” he said and called for “extraordinary international support” for the Rohingyas.

The participants in the discussion called upon the UN and other members of the international community so diplomatic channels for sufficient humanitarian assistance are used and the rights of Rohingya women, children and other vulnerable groups in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar are protected.

The diplomats, academics, foreign relations experts from 11 countries, including India, Thailand, US, UK, Sweden, Singapore, Malaysia and Bangladesh, also called upon the international community to comprehensively investigate the ongoing acts of genocide, mass atrocities, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

In the Dhaka Declaration — read out by Prof Imtiaz Ahmed, director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University — they demanded prosecution and punishment of those responsible.

It also called upon Myanmar and the international community to address the issues of loss and damages caused by the exodus of the Rohingya.

The Dhaka Declaration emphasised on Myanmar’s responsibility in restoring and protecting citizenship rights and human dignity for the Rohingya.

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed said while Bangladesh goes on with bilateral negotiation with Myanmar, it is crucial to deeply engage the international community.

“Rohingya crisis is not a bilateral issue; it is very much an international one. So, it has to be addressed internationally,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said he saw progress in the repatriation process. Initially, Myanmar refused to engage the UN Refugee Agency in the process but they did so later.

A Myanmar delegation, which is visiting Bangladesh in the middle of April, agreed to visit Rohingya camps.

“This is surely progress,” Haque said.

Manzoor Hasan, executive director of the Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University and Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, also spoke at the concluding ceremony.

(This article originally appeared in the Daily Star)



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Daily Star
About the Author: The Daily Star is a leading English-language daily newspaper in Bangladesh.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy, Opinion

How competing masculinities inform Pak-India escalation

Devaluing the other in gender hierarchies often takes place through feminisation. Last month, tensions reigned high between neighbouring nuclear powers that share an ugly history of separation and bellicosity. Once more, India and Pakistan seemed to be at the brink of war. Airports were shut down, the Line of Control was violated, and de-escalation — especially in the newfound absence of dedicated third-party intervention — looked out of bounds for the most part. War-mongering through media outlets prevailed while fake and selective news circulated in this situation of crisis. Yet, it is baffling — if also not amusing — that even in such delicate moments, rhetoric of ‘putting them in their place’ was omnipresent on both sides. Similarly, a few months ago, when Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his disappointment regarding peace talks with India, he chastised that he ha


By Dawn
March 21, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Moon holds meeting with US intelligence chief in Seoul

The meeting comes after the failed Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim. President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday met with US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats in Seoul to discuss bilateral issues, Cheong Wa Dae said. According to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, Moon and Coats held an “in-depth and wide ranging discussion about current issues between South Korea and the US.” Coats’ visit is seen as aimed at sharing information and assessment of North Korea following the breakdown of last month’s summit between the two countries. Earlier, a local newspaper reported that Coats arrived at a US air base in Osan, south of Seoul,


By The Korea Herald
March 21, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Thais wont mobilize in protest even if junta wins elections.

Thailand’s ersatz elections will not bother most Thais even if army comes back to rule. Every country has their breaking point, where corruption, abuse and living standards reach a point where people are compelled to take to the streets and demand a change. Thailand’s breaking point appears to be much higher than most. After all, a decade of political infighting, street riots, and military crackdowns has made mass protest much less palatable for the common Thai. Despite this, the military seem to be doing their utmost to push the populace to their limit. Reports from early and overseas voters tell of an election deeply flawed with spoiled ballots, discounted votes and confusing polling procedures. Some votes have been disregarded altogether, including those that voted for the Thai Raksa Chat Party who was disqualified by the Election Commission for running a princess to be p


By Cod Satrusayang
March 20, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Is Kim Jong-un considering ‘new way’?

Post Hanoi summit failure, speculation grows on what new mode of defense may be. Following the failure to reach an agreement at last month’s summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, tension has been building between the two sides, threatening the negotiations that they have built over the past year. While the breakdown of their second meeting did not lead to a war of words, North Korea said it was considering suspending talks with the United States, while Washington accused Pyongyang of “not doing what it needs to do.” The communist leader warned in his New Year’s speech this year he would have to find a new way for defending the North if the US did not keep its promises. As the US appears to have no intention of taking the “commensurate measures” the North seeks for the denuclearization steps it has taken, speculation has grown as to whether


By The Korea Herald
March 20, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Opinion: Japan must return to being South-east Asia’s top trade partner

Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh called on Japan to return to Asean as its top investor, as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. Veteran diplomats jousted at a public forum here over the question of whether Japan is sufficiently invested in South-east Asia, amid the former’s concerns about China’s growing influence in the region. Singapore’s Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh called on Japan to return to Asean as its top investor, as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. “You were Asean’s number one trade partner. Now you are number four. You were also number one in foreign direct investments. Now you are not. You have lost so much ground in South-east Asia,” he said.


By The Straits Times
March 20, 2019

Diplomacy, Opinion

Malaysia detains 13 suspected militants

Six of them were involved in the Marawi siege in the Philippines. Thirteen suspected militants, including six pro-Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members allegedly involved in the deadly Marawi siege in southern Philippines, have been detained by Malaysian authorities. Malaysia’s national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said 12 Filipinos and a Malaysian were arrested on March 11 and 12 by police’s Counter Terrorism Division, with the help of Special Branch, Sabah police and elite multi-tasking special forces unit 69 Commando. “They were detained for their suspected involvement in several terror groups… either the ASG, Maute combatants or the Royal Sulu Force (RSF),” he said in a statement on Monday (March 18). “Some of them were also involved in giving protection to foreign terrorist fighters who are hiding in Sabah.” The first arrests, the Inspector-Genera


By The Straits Times
March 19, 2019